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Illegal hookah bars in Mira-Bhayandar serve minors, provide call girls and prostitutes

BY FLYNN REMEDIOS: As the MBMC elections draws near, illegal hookah bars, hookah palours and sleaze joints in Mira-Bhayandar have started seeing an increase in footfalls. It is obvious that additional money has started circulating in the area and the biggest beneficiaries of this ill-gotten wealth are the hookah bars, ladies dance bars, prostitution dens and the like.

Last year, the Anti Human Trafficking unit of the Thane (rural) police raided a hookah parlour in Mira Road and arrested 32 people, including the bar operator and 2 women. A police team in a surprise raid swooped down at Ice Lounge — a notorious hookah parlour in Mira Road (East) and arrested the operator and seized hookah pots and a music system.

However, the same hookah palour is now doing brisk business, albeit in a new avatar.  There are over 20 illegal hookah bars in Mira-Bhayandar which are all doing brisk business.

The hookah operators are now also offering sex by discretely providing call girl services from the same joint. Though this is very discreet and only regular customers can avail of it, girls are available for as little as Rs 2000 for one hour. There are 2-3 dingy, almost dark rooms or cubicles behind the hookah bars, where the owner or operator provides private hookah along with sex to regular customers.

Many customers at these sleazy-illegal joints are 16 and 17-year-old youth with even minor girls regularly frequenting these hookah bars.

Besides Mira-Bhayandar, more than 60 illegal hookah bars and palours are operating in the Goregaon-Borivili belt and with the zonal police refusing to play spoilsport, prostitution rackets are also on the rise in the area.

According to a Times of India report, the social service (SS) branch of the Mumbai crime branch recently rescued a 24-year-old Russian national and a 16-year-old girl from sex rackets in separate raids.

In both the cases, the SS Branch conducted raids after being goaded by their informants and decoy customers.

The first case took place in a posh hotel in Malad (West). An undercover agent established the Russian national was into flesh trade. A team led by Ravindra Gidde, senior inspector (SS branch), and inspector Pravin Kadam arrested the pimp under relevant sections of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and rescued her. She had come here on a tourist visa. She has been sent to a shelter home and will be allowed to return home.

In the second case, an SS team arrest a pimp and rescued the girl in Oshiwara. The police said the girl, who is from Maharashtra, got enmeshed in the flesh trade owing to her family’s poor financial conditions. Her parents constantly fights over domestic issues, said a police officer. She has been sent to a shelter home.

According to an IndiaNewsNet.IN SURVEY, there are over 600 illegal hookah palours in suburban Mumbai – both in the western and eastern suburbs, which are doing brisk business and even openly advertising the same on Facebook, Twitter, Google and other similar social media platforms, says Editor – Investigations, Flynn Remedios.

We contact Bangur Nagar and Malad police stations for their comments. While Sr Inspector of Malad police station Sudhir Mahadik did not even respond to our messages and calls, Sr Inspector of Bangur Nagar police station Santosh Bhandari refused to comment on the issue. He however agreed that hookah bars and palours are operating in his area and the police are trying to rein them in.

DCP zone XI Vikram Deshmane did not respond to our SMS message seeking a comment on the menace of illegal hookah bars in the area.

Several Ukrainian women are working as high-class call girls in the Goregaon-Malad belt and operating from hookah bars and hookah palours in the area, informed our source, also claiming that he has informed and complained to the Malad, Bangur Nagar and Malwani police stations, but no action has been taken.

Thane-Rural SP Mahesh Patil was not available for comment.


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